Christmas arrived at the Olive Crest Children's Center on Wednesday afternoon in a 48-foot truck.
The big tractor-trailer wasn't hauling Santa and his workshop--it was carrying boxes and boxes of toys, gift certificates and other goodies donated by Southland Albertsons supermarket employees. It's a tradition that has developed over the last 12 years.
"It's an incredible thing," said Donald Verleur, executive director of Olive Crest home for abused children. "We have tons of people giving gifts, but Albertsons really takes the lion's share in helping with the wish lists that our kids put together."
The items most often asked for that the employees donated include gift certificates for clothing, music and fast food, hand-held or boom box CD players, sports equipment, Nintendo sets and game cartridges and art supplies.
The bulk of the toys will be given to the children at Olive Crest's home in Santa Ana. The rest will be distributed to kids at other Olive Crest centers in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego.
Olive Crest also has homes in Las Vegas and Seattle.
"For many of our kids, this is really the first Christmas they have, and they see for the first time that the community actually gives instead of takes from them," Verleur said.
Last year, Olive Crest homes helped more than 2,000 families--500 of whom were in Orange County. Information: (714) 543-5437.